Is it pretty safe to say that if you are a parent you have probably doubted your role as one at one time or another?
You are not alone.
Parenting is hard work, it’s a huge responsibility and quite possibly the most thankless job ever, yet it also comes with the greatest rewards.
As a parent we find ourselves second guessing every decision we make or questioning each and every behaviour of ours which only escalates further doubt.
We worry we will somehow screw up our kid’s lives forever.
We worry that they won’t love us or that they will actually grow to hate us.
This has been a daily battle of mine over the past seven years and I blame my illness.
It makes me believe all the doubt and lies.
Even though I have three amazing kids (more like young adults actually) who are all very busy these days discovering who they are and what they need in order to become their best self.
They are finding their place in the world.
They are chasing their dreams.
In fact I’d say they are all killing it right now despite my feeling like I have failed them in every way possible, despite my feeling like my illness has taken away a big part of their innocence, despite my feeling like I’m the worst parent ever, despite my feeling like I’m a complete burden to them, despite my feeling like I have scarred them for life and despite my feeling like they hold so much hate and resentment toward me.
It’s been a really difficult week for me. I’m beyond overwhelmed right now and in a pretty bad headspace, (see blog .https://youareenough712.wordpress.com/2021/05/24/suicide-can-be-a-silent-killer/) but despite all that it’s moments like the one we had on Sunday evening that remind me that maybe I haven’t failed them after all, maybe I haven’t actually screwed them up completely and maybe, just maybe I’ve even played a role in them becoming those amazing, generous, loving, kind young adults.
Maybe I need to be more aggressive when I try telling my depressed mind to fuck off.
I’ve needed a few days to process the emotions that overcame me on Sunday evening when my kids excitedly presented me with an early birthday present (they wanted to give me enough time to prepare for it).
They handed me an envelope and before I opened it they told me that they wanted to get me something they knew I’d cherish forever and something that I crave more than anything else in the world.
As I anxiously opened the envelope I could not imagine what it could be. I unwrapped the piece of paper inside and saw a picture of a cabin on a lake.
Their gift to me was exactly what they said it was as they handed me the envelope to open. They had wanted to get me something they knew I would cherish forever and something that I crave more than anything else in the world so as they so eloquently put it, they gave me the gift of time; quality family time that is.
They have rented a cottage for all of us for the weekend of Father’s day, just days before Hannah “hopefully” heads off to camp for the summer and just days before my 50th birthday.
There will be canoeing, campfires, roasted marshmallows, self-care, sunbathing on the dock, laughter and a special #summerofrich “Father’s Day” adventure included in our weekend away but most of all there will be picture perfect memories made that we can all cherish forever.
I love you to the moon and back, forever and a day.
I don’t remember the last time I was home alone for more than maybe an hour since mid February which is well before Covid-19 hit; and sadly there doesn’t seem to be an end in sight right now.
Over the last month both my depression and anxiety symptoms have made me feel even more overwhelmed and vulnerable than ever and my thoughts of suicide have become more and more vivid as well which has left me urgently begging for a break from all of the day to day chaos that has been erupting behind the scenes at home.
So first thing this morning Rich and the girls headed up north to spend the day with friends at their cottage (Jacob worked all day and then went to his baseball game), leaving me home ALONE for the whole day and night! And even though I had 2 appointments previously scheduled for this afternoon (one being the always enjoyable Mammogram) that I needed to go to I was still able to spend most of my day just being mindful.
I went for a long walk in the morning, I ate whatever I wanted (Fyi: Mac & Cheese for supper is still one of the best comfort foods around), I read, I did some writing, I went to both of my appointments and I enjoyed some much needed & very peaceful “me time”.
For the last 6 years I have felt as though I have failed as both a parent and a partner. I have spent all these years feeling like a burden to my family and I am consumed by guilt day in and day out. I blame myself for every bad thing that happens to the people I love and cherish the most and no matter how hard I try I feel completely worthless almost all of the time.
Me wanting and needing to have just one day to de-stress a bit and spend a day by myself so that I could try to loosen the noose around my neck (it’s a figure of speech!) seems selfish to some and probably makes me look like a bad mom and wife to others but I keep trying to remind myself how important self-care is (remember you should always put the oxygen mask on yourself first on an airplane) and even if one day won’t make everything better, it’s certainly a great place to start. And I’m pretty sure from the sounds of it that today was a pretty great day for some much needed rest and rejuvenation up north as well.
I’m going to go now and enjoy my last few hours of alone time while I get ready to watch “Big Brother” and “Married At First Sight” which are my Wednesday night favourites.
Do you ever feel like you have failed as a parent or as a partner? Does it consume you with guilt? Shame?
Today we got an early start to the day and drove up north (Jacob joined us for dinner after work 🧒) to spend the day at our friend’s cottage, something very familiar to us by now as we have been going there since our kids were very little.
Today’s visit came at a time when getting away from it all was critical for me as I mentioned the other day (Blog “Give Me A Break”; July 13, 2020). I have desperately needed to take a Mental Health break and a change of scenery is certainly a great benefit for your mental health.
Getting away from it all, even for the day can significantly help reduce your level of stress and calm your mind; and spending the day outdoors in the warm summer sun by the water, listening to the sound of the waves rolling by is definitely a perfect way to relax your body as well (and spending time with loved ones is just an added bonus).